By Warren Phillips, HRchitect
As part of the setup of a Talent / Learning Management system, the user profile will contain an email field. If you are loading test users and you must populate the email or just want to, what domain should you use?
Have you Ever?
When you need to refer to a domain in a document or enter a dummy email for a user in a system, have you ever used anything like the following:
email@example.com (where aaa, bbb and ccc can be anything you could possibly come up with).
If you can think of a domain name, then someone either currently owns or is selling that domain name, or it may possibly be set up in the future.
You do not want your system sending email traffic or web page referrals to an unknown system possibly owned by someone else, or even worse, have your business associated with a domain that may have a bad reputation.
What is Internet Best Practice?
See Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) RFC 2606 Special Use Domain Names at https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2606 .
If you need a generic domain to use in documentation or in test/sandbox systems, there are three valid domain names that the IETF set up for that purpose. And you can use these without permission.
https://example.com (ex. Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
https://example.net (ex. Email email@example.com)
https://example.org (ex. Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Important! While these domain names can be used and will never be sold to any user, the IETF documentation on them clearly states that using them can provide inconsistent results depending upon how local and worldwide domain name servers handle them. For example, sending an email to email@example.com may result in an error message returned.
Are There Other Options?
For dummy emails, another better option is to setup a noemail email address within your corporate domain. For example, company ABC IT department would set up a firstname.lastname@example.org and schedule that email inbox for regular purging. Ask and you may find that your IT department may already have one set up.
If you want to receive the emails being sent to that email address, another option is to set up an email such as email@example.com. And then have the messages redirected to a distribution list, or give a select set of users the ability to access the inbox. Sometimes that is called an “email deadbox”.
One last option is to set up a gmail.com email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Google gmail or some other free email system could be used. Just be courteous and shut that account down when no longer needed.
In any case, do not use domains you do not own, as it is not Internet best practice.
About Warren Phillips
Warren is a Senior HCM Consultant with the HRchitect Consulting team. With over 30 years of experience in the training industry, Warren has led the implementation of training initiatives and Talent Management Systems for a wide range of commercial and government projects. He is also an expert in the technical side of training. An experienced training developer with a solid understanding of adult learning theories, instructional systems design, and user interface design for instructor led, self-paced and blended learning solutions.